Asatru, Dianic, Gods & Radicals, Heathen, Pagan, polytheism, Rhyd Wildermuth
So it seems that in addition to all the drama llama’s sweeping Heathenism, what with Declaration 127 being essentially a call for racially motivated ethnic segregation, other events have been happening as well. Because the world doesn’t stop turning just because a bunch of people get their jimmies rustled and decide to punish the heretics.
Apparently, Gavin Frost of Gavin and Yvonne Frost died a few days ago. I didn’t know about it, and I can’t say I particularly care about it either. Some one died. Lots of people die, and this one appears to be of natural causes, so I don’t have to worry about ideologically motivated murderers getting away with it because certain people feel some ideologies shouldn’t be questioned. Or at least, I didn’t, until I came across Rhyd Wildermuth’s post talking about the death of Gavin Frost and…well I guess what it means to him.
I’m not going to go over the full post, but something struck me as I was reading it. Rhyd entitled the post “Fuck the Good People.” Making it both terrible click bait and horribly offensive to 90% of all humanity.
Now, for those not Familiar with the Frosts, a bit of info. Apparently, they were Wiccans. I don’t think they were mainstream wiccans, but rather the leaders of one of the many Wiccan traditions (because Wicca actually has turned into an umbrella like Heathenism has, with some similar splits ideologically about “ingroup/outgroup” issues.) The Frosts were famous, or infamous, because in their tradition sex was a part of the initiation into the coven. All well and good, there’s other covens like that I’m told. The difference is that they lowered their sexual initiation age all the way down to 12/13 area (well, technically once puberty had hit and developments had started):
Here’s part of the text from The Witch’s Bible that some find a little ‘controversial’ or think others have ‘misunderstood.’ It’s also the part of the book I’d found that had been burnt, in which the initiation of children just after puberty (or, in the book’s terms, “When a child develops to a stage where the physical attributes of reproduction are present”) is prescribed. These are the instructions to a young girl, to prepare her for her initiation:
“You have been entrusted with two phali; these are in your care until your initiation. We would like you to be initiated at the next coven meeting, which will take place on …. This means that, excluding your menstruation time, you have three weeks to prepare your muscles for introitus. Your father or your sponsor will help you if you have any difficulties or pain. You may have to delay your initiation, but there is plenty of time and no need to hurry. These are important development phases. Relax and take your time. You have no hymen; there is no restriction except the vaginal muscles.
After your evening discussion and meditation, and before you go to bed, take the smaller phallus and smear it with lubricating jelly. Either lie on your back with your knees up and legs slightly apart, or stand up and bend your knees. Spread the lips of the vagina and gently insert the phallus. Remember it must point toward the back, not up inside you. Push the phallus in until the vaginal entrance muscles close around the core. Wear it and the larger phallus in accordance with the following table, except during menstruation.”
So, apparently in Frostian Wicca, you introduce young girls to the religion of wicca by giving them dildos, one small, one large.
That’s…certainly a sex positive change from the sex-negative way Christianity handles this situation. Honestly, a religion that hands out free sex toys might have it’s perks. The issue, of course, seems to be the idea that these dildos were training tools so that the young girls could be ready to have sex sometime after their first cycle to be fully initiated into the tradition. Something generally defined as pedophilia.
Of course, while Rhyd (a gay man) rages at the horrific and sickening nature of this Frostian tradition (as have many others) he…seems not to care or mention what might have been the training for young boys to enter the tradition. I would imagine that, Wicca being the “male/female” centric thing that it is, young boys would also be sexually initiated, probably by an older woman. This, however, doesn’t seem to bother Rhyd (or anyone else I’ve seen), despite the fact that statutory rape tends to have as many negative effects on boys as it does on girls.
Now, frankly, I wouldn’t want to be in a tradition or religion that started that young, but let’s be honest here. The rest of the world…doesn’t think that way. Most secular schools are attempting to teach sex ed classes younger and younger (I’ve heard going as young as 8 years now)…with full instructional use on how to use sextoys like those described in the Frostian tradition. Apparently, religious leaders are bad for teaching young girls how to use dildos, but credited educators are given governmental funding. Not to mention, the Frostians did not appear to be advocating marriage starting at that age…unlike Islam with it’s 1.3 Billion worshipers who consider marrying a girl when she’s 6 and taking her virginity when she’s 9 not only acceptable, but the perfect actions of a perfect man (since that is what their prophet Mohamed did, and he is the perfect man in Islam whom all others should follow in as close a way as possible).
But it’s bad when the Frost’s do it, apparently. Despite the fact that Rhyd called me an Islamophobic bigot when I said those actions were bad when Muslims did it. The irony is palpable.
So, based on the Frosts, and a few others we’ll get to in a minute, Rhyd’s entire piece is about how pissed he is over the fact that their are people who considered the Frosts “Good People,” and defend them and their beliefs to this day (by stating they’re misunderstood or something. I don’t know how, but whatever). And because these are “Good People” who do things morally unacceptable to Rhyd, he is determined that he shall never be a “Good Person.”
I’m almost tempted to assure him that is never going to be an issue…but then I stopped and thought about it.
And I realized something…
Rhyd is a Good Person.
Let me start by another quote from Ragin’ Rhyd’s post:
Despite advocating for child sexual-initiation and never fully retracting their initiation ritual, the Frosts continued to teach and present at Pagan festivals throughout the United States. Some demanded organizers of those events disinvite them, but the backlash against those calls was just as fierce as the calls themselves. Established leaders warned it was a ‘witch hunt’ against two misunderstood innocent people . Some suggested they shouldn’t be judged by that work alone, and that their significant contributions to American Witchcraft far outweighed any controversy.
Besides, they were good people.
You hear a lot about good people. Young men caught raping women behind dumpsters are described as good kids and let off with only three months because of that goodness. Politicians and Pagan leaders with some awful ideas about white supremacy are described as good folks and defended with that goodness against critics. Elders who think trans women are mentally-ill products of the Patriarchy who should be shunned from all women’s spaces are, of course, good people…
… I‘ve known plenty of good people. I had a boss who really liked to help the community, donating money to help disadvantaged youth, fed her kids only organic food. She also wouldn’t hire Black people in her restaurant. I had an uncle who coached soccer and would help my grandparents out whenever they needed anything. He also molested my mother, his own daughter, and several girls in his neighborhood before finally killing himself.
The world is full of good people. Good cops who are kind to their kids and wife who shoot unarmed Black men. Good CEO’s who really care about their employees and poison the earth. Good politicians who donate lots of money to charity while authorizing the bombing of villages.
Paganism is also full of good people. Leaders who are ‘good people’ who will privately belittle and harass women, entire good traditions who cherish family values and want to see Black Americans sent back to Africa and Jews sent to camps. These are all good people, good and loyal friends, dutiful and kind lovers to their mates, kind to animals. Many of them recycle. Many of them pick up litter off the side of the road, donate to good causes, even help Pagans get government recognition and who have built important institutions.
Capitalism is a good system, providing good paying jobs. America’s a good country, working to bring peace and prosperity throughout the world. Soldiers and cops are good people, bankers and politicians are good people.
Fuck good people.
Now, initially I was tempted to go through each example (because some of them are complete shit for the point he’s trying to prove), but here’s the thing about “Good People.”
Good is Relative.
I know that’s a hard concept to grasp. Most people think that something Good is Good. Especially when we think of those things as “Good.” However, when you look around the world and through the ages, Good has been pretty subjective. Like I stated above, Frostian Pedophilia is wrong in the eyes of Rhyd, but in those same eyes you’ll be a Bigot if you point out Islamic Pedophilia (which implies that Islamic Pedophilia is Good, since one is not to complain against it).
So let’s take a few examples here. The Cop who is a loving Father and Husband, who shoots an unarmed black man. Now, to Rhyd, the shooting of an unarmed black man is always evil, regardless of reason. Right up there with molesting a bunch of girls* (unless you’re a Muslim doing it, apparently). Now, it seems with Rhyd, it doesn’t matter if that unarmed black man was beating someone to death with his bare hands, robbing a store, assaulting a woman, anything. The cop is inherently evil for shooting said unarmed black man, and no amount of being the best husband, father, and citizen in the world washes away that “evil.” And so the “good man” is worthless.
Pagan and political leaders with “Bad ideas about White supremacy,” is another fun one. After all, I’m pretty sure I know who he’s talking about. And here’s where the subjectivity of Good comes into play. Said leaders are interested in the fates and success of “their people.” It’s what a good leader is supposed to do, worry about those they are leading before everyone else. And a leader who does look after his people, does so honorably, and brings them success, is a good leader. And it is heavily believed that a good leader is a good person as well, because they are doing good things.
But to Rhyd, this is bad. Bad, ultimately, because he must consider those who are being done good by are bad people. People who do not deserve good.
Let’s take Steve McNallen, often decried by Universalists and Marxists alike as evil. To those in the AFA, and even some outside, Steve is a “Good Person.” Why? Because he is known to keep his word, treat fairly with folks both inside and outside his organization. He has helped other minority groups to sustain their individual practices as he has helped his own people to do so. According to the ethics of his people, Steve is a good man.
But to the ethics of Rhyd’s people, Steve is a bad man. Rhyd is part of a group that has it’s own ethics, it’s own “right behaviors.” To him, the Frosts having a sexual initiation is “Bad” and makes the Frosts “bad people,” but to Frostians, the Frosts are “Good people” for upholding the ethos of their demos.
And let us make no mistake…Rhyd and his Marxist Pagans do indeed have an ethos for their demos. Rhyd is not some amoral person, living beyond morality, throwing up a middle finger to “good, ethical behavior.” Sure, he might like to convince himself that he is doing just that, and his entire editorial is about claiming such….but Rhyd is ultimately lying to himself about his “amorality” and “not being a good person.”
I should know…because I am an amoral individual.
Rhyd gave up his chance to claim “i’m not a good person” as soon as he began listing behaviors that were “good” and behaviors that were “Bad.”
Rhyd and his fellow writers have spent months detailing an entire “Ethos” for the “Demos” to follow. This ethos includes things like anti-capitalism, radical resistance, the silencing of bio-normative voices in favor of trans-normative voices, the decrying of “racists” and the questioning of Gods who do not get with the marxist program. This things, for his tribe, are not different than providing alms to the poor, coaching little league, or helping underprivileged youths. These are Good Actions, which make those who do them Good People.
And Rhyd does do these things that are good according to the ethos of his demos. He is recognized as a leader among Marxi-Pagans, an example of strength, courage, and good behavior. An example to be followed by his people. Now, he may think to himself “I am not good, for I stand against all that is good for my enemies,” but I must disabuse Rhyd of his Luciferian virtue. Because Rhyd no longer is a part of the “Good People” he so reviles.
Rhyd has made his own people. Marxist Pagans like himself. He has bound himself to a demos, he has established to orthodoxy and orthopraxy of its ethos. Sure, he can decry certain behaviors as Immoral, but he can only do that from a moral position where in he has the “Good” morals and his foes have the “Bad morals.”
Were Rhyd truly uninterested in being a good person…he would have no issue with the “white supremacy” of certain pagan or political leaders. Were Rhyd truly not a good person, he would not care about rapists sentenced to a mere three months*. He would not care if the Dianic religion considered Trans-women to be “mentally ill victims of a global patriarchal conspiracy.”
Those who are not “Good People” have no morals. The instant you have morals, you become a Good Person because you are living according to those morals and demonizing those who do not. Even if you don’t realize it is morals you are living by, because they seem like the most natural thing in the world.
What’s more interesting, to me anyways, is that even as Rhyd is decrying the “good people” who he claims he will never be like…he is being exactly like them. Take the politicians and pagans who are “white supremacists” that he complains about. Rhyd believes he is in a position to morally shame them as being not “good people” because of their supremacy when Rhyd himself is a supremacist of the highest order. The only difference is that instead of being a “white supremacist” Rhyd is a “Marxist Supremacist.”
The entire site of G&R is about how Marxism must be made the supreme law of the land, both socially and economically, with strong hints of religiously. Rhyd and dozens of people who have written for that site have all stressed the need to completely destroy our present society and replace it with a Marxist one. That is supremacy, utterly and completely. And he finds it morally good to do this, enforce this, and this belief and resulting actions have resulted in Rhyd being considered a “good person” by his fellows….even though thousands of people consider his actions, motives, and goals absolutely abhorrent in every degree.
But at the end of the day, despite the calls for revolution, terrorism, and rebellion, not to mention the removal of the Gods from their Privileged Positions, Rhyd is defended as a “Good Person” by those who agree with him. Just like the Frosts are, or McNallen is, or the various now silenced priestesses of the Dianics were.
Not only is Rhyd a good person, he believes that his morals are superior, and should have a supremacy when it comes to morals. The Frosts are bad because they violate his morals. The “white supremacists” are bad because they violate His morals. The Dianics are bad because they violate his morals. The Capitalists, the Bankers, the Cops, the Soldiers, the Nation, everything is bad because it violates His Morals.
Rhyd is, of course, the very thing he claims to hate. The very thing he swore he never wanted to be. Oh sure, the Ethos of his Demos may differ from that of his foes, but he is no different than the Frosts, or McNallen, or Trump, or Krasskova, or Invictus, or anyone else he and his demos have repeatedly denounced as everything bad that’s still respected as “Good People.”
But I think, if he allowed himself some clarity, he would see that what has happened with all of them is also what has happened with him. Eager followers willing to excuse certain actions other people find detestable because “Rhyd is a Good Person, trying to do the Right Thing.”
You’re a Good Person, Rhyd Wildermuth. Just like all the rest of them.
* What is it with Rhyd calling out pedophilia, but him calling me an islamophobic bigot when I was doing it?
* The irony being, that would actually be about the sentence a woman would get for raping a man…in the unlikely situation where she was actually convicted. Look up the average sentencing for female statutory rapists. Most of them get off with months, or completely free.
Two things: the recent movement in Paganism about safe spaces, safe blogs, etc is the same as the Citizens’ Decency Committees who determined public morals. These committees were responsible for “banned in Boston” of risque materials, the blue laws in the U.S. and banned books, etc. It was centered on “public decency” which was defined things as pornographic or promoting drug use or undermining the social order.
Rhyd in his editorial is setting up the same thing as these committees. That is what is good and decent. But he is not really the only one. He is simply one of the more articulate people. They have established what the community should be, and ban all who undermine the Pagan or Polytheism that they are a part of.
Instead of Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Capricorn” or Lenny Bruce’s monologues, they ban blogs of the “piety posse” and others whom they demean degenerate. In the name of protecting the community.
I will leave the Frosts for another day. I did attend a workshop about ten years ago, where Gavin did discuss ritual initiation of pre-teen girls. And he was confronted by it by several parents of pre-teens. He brushed their concerns off. When the festival was deciding to bring them back, several people protested. The festival leader had a long, intense, and public debate about the Frosts. It was the community deciding, and they decided no. But it was for that community and that festival, and everyone was involved. So there are ways to handle these things locally, instead of have a global fight about them.
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